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January 19, 2019

Agencies agree to compensate Kibera residents facing eviction

A section of Kibra Lindi settlement mostly dominated by the Nubian community of Kenyan Origins on July 10,2018./ENOS TECHE
A section of Kibra Lindi settlement mostly dominated by the Nubian community of Kenyan Origins on July 10,2018./ENOS TECHE

Calm was yesterday restored in Kibera after residents were told they will be compensated for an imminent eviction.

Tension had been building in the slum since last week after some 30,000 residents were ordered to vacate to pave way for the construction of a link road between Lang'ata and Ngong Road.

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), National Land Commission and residents representatives held a crisis meeting with the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) to find a solution.

Kura is the agency constructing the road. The meeting held at Kura's offices in Upper Hill, Nairobi, was chaired by KNCHR chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori.

The meeting forestalled a demonstrations that was planned for Monday and yesterday. The residents had termed the eviction notice “inhumane” and promised to resist attempts to demolish their houses.

Last Wednesday, the government threatened to demolish houses on the road construction path by Monday next week if residents failed to vacate.

Although the meeting recognised that the land required for the construction of the Sh2 billion Ngong-Kungu Karumba-Lang’ata link road belong to the government, it resolved to compensate residents "in good faith."

“The government cannot compensate people for its own land, but the Constitution says compensation may be made to bona fide occupiers who do not hold title deeds in good faith,” NLC vice chairperson Abigael Mukolwe said.

“And because we know the people of Kibera are low income earners, they would be disadvantaged if they are not compensated.”

Mukolwe said the entire Kibera, which measures about 650 acres, belonged to the government until 2016 when 288 acres was allocated to the Nubian community.

The road will cut 60 metres wide from the DC’s office in the North to Kibera South Health centre before proceeding to Kungu-Karumba Road. It will have a 2.5-metre-wide cycle tracks on each side and pedestrian walkways. In total, 10 acres will be used for the construction of the link road.

The meeting agreed that Kura engineers and NLC officers would be dispatched to the ground from today to put beacons and document those to be displaced.

"The only sticky issue was for people to be evicted in a humane way," Mbogori said.

Nubian Human Rights Forum chairman Shaffie Ali said the planned demonstrations have been called off. He asked residents to remain patient.

“Compensation is what we have been fighting for all along. We are not opposed to the road construction,” Ali said.

Kura director general Silas Kinoti urged residents to move, saying the construction plan is behind schedule.

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